We watch... so you don't have to.

Fall '98: "Two of a Kind"

For those of you who like to grouse that bold, innovative TV is dead, I give you Two of a Kind. This show -- a gripping portrayal of the hardships and heartaches of single parenthood in the morally ambivalent '90s -- takes your breath away with its hard-hitting story lines, true-to-life characters and gritty portrayal of life on the mean streets of Chicago. With its unflinching look at a warts-and-all father trying his best to raise two young girls, Two of a Kind is compelling television, a searing look at a man struggling with his own inner demons. It can tug at your heartstrings while making you think as well.

It's fun to pretend, anyhow.

Actually, Two of a Kind is another lightweight offering from ABC's wafer-thin TGIF brand of family comedies. The show is about two 11-year-old twins, their lily-white college professor father and their vivacious red-headed nanny. The twins are played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The show is produced by the folks that give you a decade's worth of Full House. You have been warned.

But it's difficult to spew too much vitriol in the direction of Two of a Kind. After all, the miserable bastards like myself who write for this Web site aren't really a part of the show's target audience. And unless I've totally misread TeeVee's demographics and most of our readers are, in fact, pre-pubescent girls, then I don't suspect that ABC is counting on any of you to tune in to watch Mary-Kate and Ashley and their hilarious antics.

No, Two of a Kind is a show for the kids... a haven of clean laughs and valuable life lessons for pre-adolescents in those years just before they're swiping Dad's Buick to go drink generic brand vodka and neck with boys in the back seat. And with that caveat, Two of a Kind isn't especially offensive. The cast is pleasant enough. The stories are easy to follow. The chances of one of the Olsen sisters suddenly cursing a blue strike are slight.

And Sally Wheeler, as the vivacious red-headed nanny, is one hot piece of tail!

My major objection to Two of a Kind is its apparent inability to mirror the world in which you and I live. Take the premiere episode, where the bland professor has a heart-to-heart with his scrumpdelicious nanny on the roof of an apartment overlooking Wrigley Field. They are the only people watching the game from this particular rooftop -- yeah, that happens -- and the vivacious nanny is exhorting Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa to "earn that $10 million salary of yours."

The fact that Sammy Sosa hit his 66th home run of the season just a few hours before Two of a Kind debuted forces me to conclude that the show is somehow written by Martians.

But that's just a minor quibble. I'm not the one who's going to be watching Two of a Kind. And you aren't either. Let's let the babies have their bottle and allow Two of a Kind to move along in its bland, inoffensive way.

At least until I can prove my theory that the Olsen twins are a CIA experiment gone horribly awry, that is.


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